Food retailers can do more to optimize the digital grocery experience for customers and get a better return for themselves.
The OSF Digital 2022 Grocery Omnichannel Retail Index (ORI), released on Monday, found that grocers are failing to increase what goes into shoppers’ virtual carts. For example, only 58% of food retailers recommend additional products in the cart before checkout, compared to 35% in 2019, despite the fact that presenting complementary products or popular items together can increase the size. shopping cart and provide more convenience to customers, Quebec-based OSF noted in the report.
Additionally, food retailers should give customers more leeway to change the quantity of cart online. Although all grocery ORI food retailers allow customers to change the quantity in their virtual cart, only 20% offer the ability to move items from the cart to a “save for later” status, while in other retail verticals, the adoption rate is 40%, OSF research found that a “save for later” option allows customers to quickly return to a previously considered product and just add it to the cart instead of having to search for it.
OSF Digital said that for the third annual ORI study, its digital omnichannel experts purchased 50 North American food retailers – 45 national/regional grocery chains and five warehouse clubs and supercenters – and rated them on more than 100 mobile, web and in-store sites. criteria, based on OSF’s experience and knowledge of current omnichannel best practices for the customer journey. The results were released in partnership with IMF-The Food Industry Association and the National Retail Federation.
With the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerating consumers’ shift to online, mobile and other digital channels, food retailers have responded with significant omnichannel investments. The OSF study indicates that the implementation of good practice criteria has increased from 58% before the pandemic to 65% currently. However, research also showed that most food retailers lag behind in developing integrated, seamless, and personalized experiences across all channels.
“Food retailers suddenly had to become omnichannel masters in a short time and often had to piece together multiple separate programs and solutions to meet customer demands,” according to Bernardine Wu, Executive General Manager of Digital Strategy at OSF Digital. “The latest Grocery Omnichannel Retail Index reveals that there are fragmented shopping experiences and therefore opportunities to develop a more seamless customer experience.”
For example, today’s online consumers expect to receive product ratings and reviews when they shop. Yet only 28% of food retailers surveyed offer ratings and reviews on their product detail pages and 20% on their category/product listing pages. Additionally, only 12% allowed ratings to be sorted on category/product listing pages.
On the personalization front, many food retailers may be missing a clear opportunity to trap customer data by allowing shoppers to manage preferences in the account section, such as what types of emails to receive and how often. , favorite brands, food preferences, etc. The ORI report noted that this simple capability can provide valuable insights to ensure communications with customers are highly relevant and targeted on individual bases. Less than half (42%) of the retailers surveyed offer advanced account settings, although this percentage is only 4% in 2019.
Other key findings from the ORI study include:
• 88% of food retailers offer both delivery and pick-up, up from 11% in 2019 (pre-pandemic).
• 51% of retailers outsource e-commerce and fulfillment (pickup and delivery) of groceries to a third-party provider, and 49% manage digital commerce and fulfillment in-house.
• Only 32% of grocery retailers provide threshold messages in the online shopping cart to highlight minimum delivery and pickup values or to promote free delivery.
• 69% allow customers to change their choice of fulfillment at checkout (eg, from delivery to pickup or vice versa).
• 67% offer buyable digital flyers, but only 48% of retailers allow consumers to add products to a virtual cart from online content.
• 76% allow shoppers to move items from a digital shopping list to their cart, but only 28% allow shoppers to share their list with other members of their household.
• Free delivery with a threshold is offered by only 17% of food retailers assessed in the ORI — compared to 79% in other verticals — and 51% offer free delivery through a paid membership program.
“The Grocery Omnichannel Retail Index is an essential tool for food retailers who know how to put the customer at the center of the experiences they create,” said Gerard Szatvanyi, CEO of OSF Digital. “It can be used to identify gaps in the customer experience to facilitate purchases, boost conversion and increase loyalty.”